In the Field: The Himalayas

Written by Ellen McIlvaine

I've been lucky enough to visit India a handful of times and I'm thrilled that we're returning to one of my favorite destinations this May—the Himalayas in Northwestern India. A treasure-trove of holy sites, time-honored traditions, and otherworldly scenery, our expedition truly captures the spirit of this area. I'm most excited about our return to Amritsar, Dharamsala, and Shimla. 

Amritsar is home to the Golden Temple, an important site of pilgrimage for Sikhs. The temple itself is stunning, somehow remaining a peaceful refuge despite the constant flow of pilgrims and visitors. I’ve long thought the structure rivals that of India’s most iconic palaces, forts, and mausoleums.

Surrounded by stunning Himalayan peaks, and home to the Dali Lama, it's no surprise that Dharamsala is one of the best places in the world to observe Tibetan culture. Our Spirit of the Himalayas adventure visits His Holiness's compound, along with the Namgyal Monastery and the Nechung Monastery, both reconstructed in the late 20th century under the Tibetan Administration. I also have fond memories of momo dumplings in the Tibetan Market—traditional street food, and completely delicious! 

Our last stop, Shimla, is the perfect place to reflect on our journey; established as the summer capital of the British Raj, this quaint city has grand colonial architecture and is surrounded by forested mountain scenery. Considered a weekend get-away by locals, we'll be staying at the luxurious Wildflower Hotel, a destination in and of itself, with its old world charm, blended with modern amenities.

Of course there will be even more to see on our Spirit of the Himalayas adventure—a city tour of bustling Delhi, the opportunity to chat with monks and students at the Tibetan Buddhist Lamayuru Monastery in Ladakh, and engaging with friendly locals. Find out more here, or call us today 800.628.8747.


Ellen at the Golden Temple

Golden Temple

A Sikh man praying

Golden Temple

Volunteers making chapattis

Golden Temples


Golden Temple

Pilgrims eating lunch

Golden Temple